Twenty’s Plenty: When Fans Fight Back

BY Tifosy Team -

Rising prices have caused an increasing amount of friction amongst football fans. In January 2013, the Football Supporters’ Federation (FSF) launched the Twenty’s Plenty campaign, which called upon football clubs at all levels of the game to recognise and reward fans by implementing a price cap on away match tickets of £20. They argued that growing ticket prices will hit attendances and affect the atmosphere at games. From next season, Premier League clubs will benefit from a new three-year £5.1bn domestic television rights deal and consequently the FSF has been urging clubs to reduce ticket prices.

The FSF felt that spiralling food, drink and travel costs have hit travelling hits the hardest and it was time that clubs gave something back to their loyal supporters. The petition has pushed the issue of high ticket prices up the agenda. As a result, it's now widely recognised as an important issue by ex-pros, high-profile journalists, and politicians.

Martin O’Hara, FSF deputy chairman, stressed at the time that “without away fans, the atmosphere at games dies and football loses a large part of what makes it so special.” He said that clubs should stop looking to make “a few extra quid” in the short-term but must instead have a “long-term vision.”

The campaign has gained support across the country, with fans protesting in different stadia. Earlier this year, Liverpool fans walked out of Anfield on the 77th minute over planned ticket price hikes. Before the mass departure the Kop loudly sang, “Enough is enough, you greedy b******s, enough is enough” – which was roundly applauded by all four sides of Anfield, including the Sunderland supporters.

A large proportion of Manchester City fans stayed away from their Premier League match at Arsenal in January this year, after being charged £62 for ticket. Some of those who went held up a protest banner at the Emirates Stadium that read: "£62 - where will it stop?"

Fans from different clubs have also expressed their discontent by unfurling banners during games. The Twenty’s Plenty’ message was made loud and clear by fans across the country last October, after the FSF pleaded to supporters to unite. When Watford played Aston Villa, fans from both sides came together to make a point to their respective boards.

In terms of what has actually been done by the Premier League and its clubs, there have been strides in the FSF campaign, but not enough according to supporters. In March this year it was announced that Premier League clubs had agreed plans to cap away tickets at £30 for the next three seasons. Although it’s clear that the voice of the fans has been listened to, clubs can still do more and only time will tell if they truly value the wishes of their loyal supporters.